What is Performance Architecture?
Performance Architecture integrates the Worker, Work, Workplace and the World within a system framework
View of the organization as a dynamic system where every part affects each other part and aligned with all parts of the system to best achieve the desired results.
The focus on building sustained performance systems
Broadly defined, Performance Architecture it a diagnostic-prescription approach to analyze and design human performance systems. PA integrates performance improvement technologies and includes the worker, the work and the workplace
The word “architecture” often conveys a sense of structure, strength, experience-even beauty-but most of all a sense of creativity. When paired with “performance” the connotation is also one of a creative and a comprehensive approach to achieve results.
Building Architects take a broad view. They are not just concerned with the physical design of the structure but also with its heating, cooling, and other energy requirements. They consider the flow of people through the structure, the ease of maintenance, emergency access, wind deflection, and a whole range of other factors. They view the entire structure as a dynamic system that must be considered in terms of all its parts. Architecture goes far beyond what kind of windows we install.
Performance Architects also take a broad view, but of the organization. They are not just concerned with one aspect like the business processes, the strategy, the structure, the culture, the leadership, job performance, or the marketplace. Performance Architects view the organization as a dynamic system where every part is affected and in turn affects every other part. Most importantly, they work from the perspective that the best way to obtain the desired results requires that the whole system is aligned to produce those results.
Of course, both building and organizational systems need repair and both kinds of architects may provide repair solutions. But the main job of all kinds of architects is to create and design effective systems that provide a valued experience for their constituents. There are professions that focus on repair. Plumbers fix broken pipes and Six Sigma people fix “broken” processes. There are also disciplines that have deep expertise in particular pieces of the organizational system. There are strategy, marketing, financial, business process, leadership, measurement, and project management consultants. There are probably several hundred more specialists that could be identified. Just as in the building trade, where there are a host of “experts” in various aspects of construction that the Building Architect can draw on, so too, the Performance Architect can draw on a variety of supporting organizational experts.
Performance Architecture grew out of the field of Performance Improvement Technologies (PIT). A focus on creative designs and broad-based system analysis were inherent in the very first applications of HPT. But since practitioners were most often called into existing organizations that were having a problem, the field developed many applications that dealt with limited areas of “repair” focused on closing the “gap” between their existing and their potential performance. Today there are many “gap” specialists within the field of PIT. There are those that focus on developing job aids, doing process improvement, designing instruction in a variety of media, performance management, job analysis, and so on. Often such specialists either act as or provide support to Performance Architects.
Performance Architects are those that consider the full organization in all its aspects to design and align all the parts to best achieve the desired results.